Board of Directors
Ken DeCubellis - Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive officer
Ken DeCubellis joined the board of Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. in May 2017. Mr. DeCubellis joined Black Ridge Oil & Gas, Inc. as Chief Executive Officer in November of 2011. Mr. DeCubellis brings over 20 years of executive experience in a broad range of energy industries including 10 years at Exxon Mobil Corp and most recently as President and CEO of Altra Inc, a venture capital backed biofuels company. Mr. DeCubellis also previously served as Chairman of KD Global Energy, Belize Ltd, a firm that provides upstream technical and geological services to petroleum lease holders in Belize. Mr. DeCubellis received an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 1996 and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1990.
Bradley Berman - Director
Bradley Berman joined the board of Black Ridge Acquisition Corp in May 2017. Mr. Berman has been a director of Black Ridge Oil & Gas since inception and began serving as the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in November 2010. Under Mr. Berman's stewardship, Black Ridge Oil & Gas accumulated our initial 10,000 net mineral acres in North Dakota & Montana’s Bakken & Three Forks play. Having successfully launched the company into the oil & gas business, Mr. Berman recruited a seasoned energy executive, Mr. Ken DeCubellis, to take his place as Black Ridge Oil & Gas' new CEO in November 2011. Mr. Berman’s introduction to the industry came by way of his role as a board member of Ante4, Inc. (previously, WPT), a position he held since 2004. Mr. Berman was instrumental in navigating Ante4 into a merger with Plains Energy, which resulted in the creation of Voyager Oil & Gas, Inc. Mr. Berman served on the board of Voyager until he assumed the role of CEO at Black Ridge Oil & Gas in November 2010. Mr. Berman is President of King Show Games, Inc., a gaming development company he founded in 1998. Between 1992 and 2004, Mr. Berman worked in various capacities at Grand Casinos, Inc. and then Lakes Entertainment, Inc., achieving the position of Vice President of Gaming. Mr. Berman is a fourth generation entrepreneur - his family has launched successful businesses in a variety of opportunistic industries.
Benjamin Oehler - Director
Benjamin S. Oehler joined the board of Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. in May 2017. Mr. Oehler has also been a director of Black Ridge Oil & Gas since November 16, 2010. From 1999 to 2007, Mr. Oehler served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Waycrosse, Inc., a financial advisory firm for the family owners of Cargill Incorporated. While at Waycrosse, Mr. Oehler played a key role in two major growth initiatives for Cargill: the merger of Cargill’s fertilizer business into a public company which is now Mosaic, Inc., and the transformation of Cargill’s proprietary financial markets trading group into two major investment management companies: Black River Asset Management, LLC and CarVal Investors, LLC. Prior to joining Waycrosse, Mr. Oehler was an investment banker for Piper Jaffray. By the time he left Piper Jaffray in 1999, he was group head of Piper’s Industrial Growth Team. He has also played a leadership role in a number of corporate buy-outs and venture stage companies, served on corporate and non-profit boards of directors, and has been involved in the creation and oversight of foundations and charitable organizations, as well as U.S. trusts and off-shore entities. Mr. Oehler has been a board member of many companies and non-profit organizations and recently completed the Stanford University Law School Directors Forum, a three-day update on key issues facing corporate directors presented by the Stanford Business School and Stanford Law School.
Joseph Lahti - Director
Joseph Lahti joined the board of Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. in May 2017. Mr. Lahti also serves on the board of Black Ridge Oil & Gas, Inc. Mr. Lahti is a Minneapolis native and leader in numerous Minnesota business and community organizations. As principal of JL Holdings since 1989, Mr. Lahti has provided funding and management leadership to several early-stage or distressed companies. Mr. Lahti currently serves Chairman of the Board of PokerTek, Inc., a publicly traded company, and as an independent board member of AFAM/Innealta. Within the past five years Mr. Lahti served on the board of directors of Zomax Inc. and Voyager Oil & Gas, Inc., and more than five years ago Mr. Lahti served as the chairman of the board of directors of Shuffle Master, Inc. Through his public company board experience, he has participated on, and chaired, both audit and compensation committees. Mr. Lahti graduated from Harvard University in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, After graduating, Mr. Lahti completed a 12-month commercial lending training program at First Bank Minneapolis before working with Syncronamics, Inc., where he specialized in scheduling and staffing-level consulting at Hughes Aircraft and Pac Tel. He joined CIGNA Financial Services as a financial counselor in 1985 and left to become president of McQuillan Lahti and Associates in 1989. At both firms, he advised business owners in the areas of tax, investment, insurance, and succession planning strategies and related product selection. From 1993 to 2002, Mr. Lahti held the positions of chief operating officer, president, chief executive officer, and chairman at Shuffle Master, Inc., a company that provides innovative products to the gaming industry.
Lyle Berman - Director
Lyle Berman joined the board of Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. in May 2017. Mr. Berman also serves on the board of Black Ridge Oil & Gas, Inc. Mr. Berman is a 1964 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Business Administration. Mr. Lyle Berman began his career with Berman Buckskin, his family's leather business. He helped grow the business into a major specialty retailer with 27 outlets. In 1990, Mr. Lyle Berman participated in the founding of Grand Casinos, Inc. Mr. Lyle Berman is credited as one of the early visionaries in the development of casinos outside of the traditional gaming markets of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In less than five years, the company opened eight casino resorts in four states. In 1994, Mr. Lyle Berman financed the initial development of Rainforest Cafe. He served as the Chairman and CEO from 1994 unti1 2000. In October 1995, Mr. Lyle Berman was honored with the B'nai B'rith "Great American Traditions Award." In April 1996, he received the Gaming Executive of the Year Award; in 2004, Mr. Lyle Berman was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame; and in 2009, he received the Casino Lifetime Achievement Award from Raving Consulting & Casino Journal. In 1998, Lakes Entertainment, Inc. was formed. In 2002, as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Lakes Entertainment, Inc., Mr. Lyle Berman was instrumental in creating the World Poker Tour. Mr. Lyle Berman served as the Executive Chairman of the Board of WPT Enterprises, Inc. (now known as Emerald Oil, Inc.) from its inception in February 2002 until July 2013. Mr. Lyle Berman also served as a director of PokerTek, Inc. from January 2005 until October 2014, including serving as Chairman of the Board from January 2005 until October 2011